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The Tenth Commandment

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's." (Exodus 20:17 RSV)

Covet Means Lust

The Ten Commandments The original Hebrew word of the Tenth Commandment, pronounced kaw-mad, which is translated as covet in English, literally means, in the negative sense, to lust after. It is not wrong to want something, but it is wrong to have an unhealthy desire for something, particularly if it belongs to someone else. Coveting, or lust, turns people into objects, and objects into idols.

As with all "Old Testament" laws, to remain pure from covetousness is a foundation of Christianity:

"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the Law: for I had not known lust, except the Law had said, Thou shalt not covet." (Romans 7:7 KJV)

"For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Romans 13:9 KJV)

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Timothy 6:6-10 KJV)

"And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:15-21 KJV)

Fact Finder: Do conflicts happen after someone isn't otherwise able to get something they covet or lust after?
James 4:1-3


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